Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Washington Park, Back in the Day

The 1908 photo above shows Washington Park between Fourth and Fifth avenues and 3rd and 4th streets in Park Slope – the same park that has been known as J.J. Byrne Park for the past 75 years (since 1933). It was once home to the Brooklyn Superbas baseball team, and in this photo a crowd waits outside for the start of the season.

The photo is from the Library of Congress, and recently ran in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It was also published in Eagle columnist John Manbeck's new book Historic Photos of Brooklyn. He recently spoke at the Brooklyn Historical Society, and said this was one of the photos in the book he was most excited about because it was so rare.

The baseball team was purchased by Charles Ebbets in 1898, became the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1910, and moved to Ebbets Field in 1913.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, the park is officially being renamed Washington Park. The park is also home to the Old Stone House, the site of a skirmish during the Battle of Brooklyn in the Revolutionary War, and the park’s new (old) name honors Gen. George Washington, who of course led the troops during that battle.

Along with the renaming, the ceremony will unveil the completion of phase one of improvements to the park, which include a new skate park, two new basketball courts, six handball courts and a new dog run. The park’s playground will be named after J.J. Byrne, who had been borough president and ordered the rebuilding of the Old Stone House after its foundation was uncovered in the early 1930s.

This 1933 photo is from the Brooklyn Historical Society's collection. It shows workers uncovering the Old Stone House. The house has since been renovated and is operated by the Historic House Trust of New York City. The park was home to Charles H. Byrne’s professional baseball team, known alternately as the Atlantics, the Brooklyn Grays, the Bridegrooms, and ultimately, the Dodgers, after they were bought by Charles Ebbets. The Fifth Avenue El, which ran between 1889 and 1940, can be seen in the background.

1 comment:

David D said...

The 1908 photo is not the same Washington Park - that one was between 3rd and 4th Aves, and 1st and 3rd Streets. The whole messy history is here: